The inaugural 2023 All American Novice Horse Futurity brought to you by the Cook Family was held July 8, 2023, at The Big A in Conyers, Georgia, to showcase the 3-Year-Old & Over Novice horse, but how it differed is newsworthy.
JR Cook and his family, along with Dr. Tony Roconni of MidSouth Equine Sports Medicine & Surgery, teamed up to bring everyone the inventive, limited futurity.
The eligibility for the 3-Year-Old & Over Novice horses:
“The horse could not have won $1000 as of January 1st,” explains JR. “If you were an overall Champion or Reserve Champion in the 3-Year-Old & Over Slot classes at the March to the Arch, The Virginia Maiden, The Madness, or the Premier LTD/LTD class, you were not eligible.”
With the exception of Premier’s LTD/LTD class, the Limited Champions and Limited Reserve Champions in the other three events were still eligible. JR says, “The class had $10,000 added with a $250 entry fee, with 90% of the entry fee going straight into the purse. Rod Patrick also donated a pair of full quill ostrich boots to the winner.”
Courtesy of Mid-South Equine Sports Medicine & Surgery, they also gave away a Blue Ribbon work saddle to the first horse out of the money; this was in addition to the $10,000 added purse.
“Melissa and I are always looking for ways to better the industry and give back,” JR explains. “The maiden classes have become rather popular and rightfully so – they are good for the industry. Years ago, the big money was offered in the 2-year-old futurities, but the 3-year-old classes have given the horses that could not make a 2-year-old a chance to compete for big money.”
He says the 2-year-old classes at Congress are always a must-watch for Melissa and him, since there’s so much to be appreciated and respected about seeing a nice, strong 2-year-old lope around the pen. “I’m pro-2-year-old, but these novice classes also take the pressure off those twos that are not going to make it, or that require a push to make it.”
JR explains just one way they can improve the industry is by taking the opportunity to offer big money bonuses and tangible awards in classes where they normally are not offered, and The Big A was just a start.
“The Big A has always been such a fun show for us, and it presented a good opportunity before we all head to NSBA and the Congress and everyone’s attention goes to the fall majors.”
Results from Horse Show Tracker (unofficial):
The Saddle Winner: